Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Are we there yet?

Last night Phil and I had the first part of our 15 year anniversary celebration (the second, for real celebration will be on Friday night) at a restaurant near the Champs Élysées and Georges V avenues, called the Fermette de Marbeuf. It was excellent, a lovely setting and a wonderful meal (I had canard à l'orange, Philippe had tartar de something or other). Anyway, after the meal I had it in my head that we would see the Grande Roue de Paris, which is set up on the place de la Concorde until January 20th.

For those of you who've never been to Paris, I'll let you in on a little secret: the Place de la Concorde is NOWHERE NEAR Georges V avenue (boulevard, whatever...). We walked and walked, and walked some more, and at one point Phil stopped and asked me, in absolute and total Québécois fashion: "Are we fuckin' there yet, câlisse???", and I Just. About. Peed. Myself. That might have had something to do with the half bottle of Saint-Émilion (not to mention the glass of champagne I had as an appéritif) I was forced to drink all by my lonesome...

Anyway, we finally made it to the Grande Roue, it was closed, and we took this picture.

On the agenda for today were Versailles and the Petit Trianon.

Geez, what can I say about Versailles? Well, it's friggin' huge, for one. You read 580m wide, and it just doesn't register. Then you see it, and you think "Holy Crap! No WONDER the people revolted!" The resources that building and maintaining such a structure must have required frankly boggle the mind.

As a former History buff, of course I was really looking forward to seeing the Hall of Mirrors, and I wasn't disappointed. No picture (and especially no picture with a bunch of tourists in it) can do it justice, but here you go nonetheless ;)

I took my time in the Château, I had rented an audio-guide and I listened to the commentary for each room. It's amazing to me that most of the Château is still off limits due to the fact that it was complely sacked during the Revolution, and yet it's STILL so magnificent. And the grounds! OK, I probably would have enjoyed them more had I been here in the Spring or Summer, but still... There was simply no end to them.

From Versailles I walked to the Domaine de Marie-Antoinette, also known as the Petit Trianon. I visited the, what, cottage? And then walked around the grounds towards the Hameau, the quaint little village the queen had built for her own personal enjoyment. Of course, the entrance to the Hameau was closed during the high season, so I had to walk all the way around again and gain entrance to the grounds of the Petit Trianon through the house. Aaargh! Oh well, I've got to burn off all these croissants and pains au chocolat somehow, right?

This is the Belvédère, a small music hall on the grounds of the Petit Trianon. There's also a lover's temple and an orangerie, as well as the afore-mentioned hameau.

The Hameau feels like some place outside reality, where you expect some large-bosomed peasant woman to come out of a house bearing pints of mead and freshly baked pie, with little rosy-cheeked children running about with flowers in their hair or something. Pleasant? Yes. Real? Absolutely not. Nobody lives like that, not now, and certainly not THEN.

Know what else there was on the grounds? A farm! With sheep! I showed them my sock in progress, but as seems to be typical of the French, they were unimpressed...

And that's it, people! At this point I was frozen solid, and decided it was high time I head home. I stopped by a Nicolas wine store on the way and have been enjoying my Château Coutelin-Merville Saint-Estèphe (thanks for the recommendation, Sandra!) while blogging this evening. But now I'Ve got to go. Phil's waiting for me to select a restaurant for tonight (my only job and the whole reason he brought me, according to him). Tomorrow is Louvre day!

Happy Knitting Everyone!


Alrischa said...

I wish my hubby would take me to France so that I could choose a restaurant for tea! I feel lucky if he suggests a hamburger from the local petrol station, because don't have to cook! lol.

The hall of mirrors still looks pretty in tourist photos Ü

Sinéad said...

Ah Versaille, I've never been. It looks fab. Glad you're enjoying yourself, hope your meal last night was nice! Any yarn shopping done yet? ;)

Sam said...

Ah... St-Estèphe... It's fun to read you - I see the steps you are walking and can't help remembering mine... I haven't seen all of Paris and would gladly go back.. Suits me well that city !

birana said...

I would like to be there toooo!!! Thanks or the photos :) And Versailles... wait, that's the name of my street, but no castle here :)
Enjoy the rest of your travel and the coming celebrations

Knit and Purl Mama said...

That sucks that everything is ending up closed! I hope it works out for the rest of your trip/plans.

Happy Anniversary again!